Friday, April 29, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
The safety I felt in your arms. Your uncanny
ability to break down my barriers,
weaken me like kryptonite. Now drift
off,disappear. Make this simple.
You captivated my life, mind, emotions,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The day before I got my scar, I told my boss, “I feel like absolute crap, so don’t be surprised if I wake up tomorrow and go to the emergency room”. Saturday morning dawned after I had been asleep for a few hours and I was awakened by my four year olds chubby fingers poking me begging for snuggles and his wet kisses being pressed against my too warm cheeks. That little round face and the intense waves of nausea sweeping like a wave over a ship’s deck are what I recall of that morning. This angry red scar that stretches from right beside my belly button to right beside my hip bone is from that day. My husband Andy told me that we should go to the hospital. “But we don’t have the money to do that,” I groaned as I curled more tightly into the fetal position. That’s when the regurgitation started. I stumbled and scurried from the bed room almost drunkenly, cursing the fact that the bathroom was down that long flight of stairs, groaning with the impact of each thudding footstep. When I reached the toilet I began retching violently with dry heaves so deep I thought my toe nails were going to come out of my mouth. Then Andy insisted, “We’re going to the ER now!” I hated his controlling and telling me what to do yet I was too weak to argue.
In the car while driving that thirty excruciating miles, I crouched backwards in my tiny black Mazda Protégé with my knees clenched to my chest and a bucket balanced on top of them which I continuously gagged and moaned into. Finally we pulled up the to the hospital. I crept through the door while bent at the waist wishing I could crawl because the upright walking made me feel almost seasick. After being settled into a room in the ER and an hour or so of trying to lay in bed and getting up over and over to barf into the sink in my room, the doctors and nurses had decided that indeed I wasn’t just a drug seeker but that I was ill. After giving me a dose of anti-nausea medication the nurse encouraged me to rest until I could go down for a CT scan. Soon I was informed that I had appendicitis and would need to go into surgery immediately. That was a scary moment. The thing that went through my mind was my little boys face and shaggy brown hair. Those pudgy arms squeezing my neck and telling me every day, “I love you mama.” I was rolled into the operating room, and after the mask was on my face, they told me to count backwards from ninety-nine.
Awakening for the second time that day was a foggy confusing moment. The room was cloudy and hazy and I couldn’t remember for a moment what was happening. Soon the searing pain in my abdomen reminded me what had happened and the nursed showed me how to work the button to get more morphine if I needed it. After staying in the hospital for two more nights, I was allowed to go home with the understanding that I was to take off at least two weeks and up to four weeks from work depending on my recovery and how I was feeling. That was the longest vacation experience I have had as an adult and I used it to the fullest. Each day I would send my son to someone’s house when Andy went to work and I would watch movies, read magazines, eat snacks, and take Vicodin induced naps.
With all that time to think and reflect I was seeing how earlier that year my marriage had reached an impasse. I would have never believed that a surgery would be the revealer of the place we had reached, yet when I was ready to go back to work, I told Andy that he had to leave, that Joshua and I would be fine without him.
“There is in every true woman’s heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in
the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour
of adversity”. Washington Irving, The Sketch Book
I am a woman’s woman. I cook, bake, clean, sing, listen to love songs, dance, cry at sappy movies, daydream about love. I have carried a child, had hormonal surges that caused me to weep while watching telephone commercials on television, breast-fed my son, and all of the other things women typically do as wives, mothers, and individuals. Somewhere during my early and tumultuous twenties, amongst getting married, having a son, discovering my husband had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in addition to an addiction to alcohol and cocaine, moving eleven times in seven years, and finally him leaving for good, I lost myself. Most of these situations alone would be tragic and soul-crushing. Yet together they make up the last nine years of my life during which I have grown the most, considered the release of death, and am still looking for meaning and purpose.
Andy effectively and mercifully allowed our marriage to die a little over two years ago on a steamy July afternoon, as he cruised away in his battered white Buick, never to return. I had arrived home the previous morning around one o’clock from the local steakhouse and bar where I cooked, only to find him drunkenly incoherent, stumbling, and rummaging around our house, searching desperately for the six hundred dollars he had remaining from the pay check he had cashed on Friday afternoon. To say I was angry would be an understatement. I was fuming, irate, and livid; to put it simply, pissed. He had gone to the small dive bar down the street from our house after work to purchase whatever poison he had decided to gulp down as an escape from his torment, while my four year old son Joshua was home alone with him. A raging battle of bitter venomous words were batted back and forth for hours, mine accusatory and full of hatred, and his a blurry, bumbling attempt at pacification and explanation. My full limit had been reached. All the same excuses from all of the years, the utter inability to accept responsibility for his actions, the thoughtless endangering of our angelic brown-eyed little boy, I was finished, no more.
Suddenly I was not even angry, just resigned. I had made my decision. We trudged outside to smoke a cigarette, where the light pink and gold of dawn had begun to creep up from the horizon, plunked down on the wooden planks of our back porch, and with the smoke wafting and curling around our heads in a ghostly dance, I told him to leave in the morning. I had found my voice again.
I know people break up, get divorced, leave each other all the time, but I had my entire identity, hopes and dreams encompassed in a marriage that had crumbled. For the first time in years, I had no one telling me what to do, where to go, what to think, but I also did not have a standing date for Saturday nights, someone to drive when I did not want to, or a father for my child. My emotions were clashing and raging inside of me. Freedom, and yet the full responsibility of Joshua’s care and well-being, was mine.
Single parenthood was something I had always attributed to irresponsible teenage girls and the like. I had never imagined that I would be in that position. My judgment was no longer justified in my mind. Walking through a crowded grocery store, I felt looked down upon, no wedding ring gleaming on my finger, a little boy walking beside me calling me mama; surely in every one’s eyes I was being judged. So much of my security, identity and self-assurance were hinged on being a wife. Who am I now I wondered? A thirty year old emotionally damaged, angry and distrustful of men, single mother, working in a dead end job, receiving no financial help from Andy. So back to school I went.
College must be the answer I am looking for, I thought. I will make a ton of new friends, get an education that will increase my earning potential, and Joshua and I will both benefit from this change. My friends were telling me, “Melissa, you’ve been single for two years; it’s time for you to start dating.” Not likely. Now the new college-going, three-job-having, mommy- being me has her hands full juggling our schedules, finding babysitters so I can work and attend class, making dinner, cleaning the house, buying snacks, and paying bills. I also need to worry about being attractive to males, only to find out that I intimidate them. Even now I am realizing that by being on my own, providing for my little family, having opinions, telling jokes, and not just demurely giggling at theirs I am upsetting the idea of how a good little mid western girl should act.
Two years and two months of the single life, with no boyfriends or social life, is teaching me patience, humility, and self-reliance. At the end of each long, lonely day I go home to my cozy green safe haven of a home, get the greatest hugs from my little boy and realize that through all of the agonizing ordeals, I am still me. A woman who will dance recklessly, singing unabashedly, laugh raucously, cry unashamedly, and hopefully one day be loved completely.